Development of Field Test for Identification of Cocaine with TLC


  • Emma Schrider
  • Jeff Boles


Currently used as a presumptive field test for identifying cocaine, the Scott's test has been shown to bring false positives as heavily relied on evidence. While some precautions have been taken, there are still too many variables that affect the outcome, including presence of similar drugs, diluents and mass sensitivity. This project's approach looks at the same stain reagent in a different form, a thin layer chromatography (TLC) kit, rather than a presumptive test kit like that sold by NIK. Even though more complex, design has focused on the ability to carry out the test in the field by law enforcement. The optional use of a heat source for enhanced color development has also been included in this study. Preliminary studies have focused on silica TLC plates, cobalt (II) thiocyanate stain, and a mobile phase with a 8:1:1 ratio of ethanol, methanol, and ammonia.